In the U.S. today there are roughly 5,300 postsecondary educational institutions. These schools require that students adhere to standards of academic integrity. Students may be alleged to have violated the honor code through actions such as cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty. The institution will proceed according to their established disciplinary process that involves a hearing and rendering a decision. College administrators and disciplinary committees often rush to judgment and fail to properly consider the rights of students amid allegations of wrongdoing. Those who are found to be in violation are potentially subjected to difficult penalties and sanctions. The Lento Law Firm assists students in need of disciplinary defense and will aggressively represent you in appealing these rulings.
Academic Records at Risk
Colleges and universities maintain records that document each student's activity. Having transcripts that show you have violated rules of academic misconduct can have consequences that can hinder your future. Those transferring to another institution or applying for a graduate school program may find that these records prevent them from being admitted. This is particularly a problem for those pursuing selective professional programs such as medical or law school that may conduct extensive background screening.
Many institutions have a sanction review option that allows violators to challenge the severity of the penalties imposed. This is a distinct process from an appeal of disciplinary action. At Penn State University this is initiated by submitting a written request with supporting documentation explaining why the sanctions are excessive. In the appeals process, you are disputing the merit of the finding (ruling) of the actual violation. A lawyer with expertise in this area of practice will properly assess your individual situation and craft an effective defense strategy. This may include entering the appeals process and also potentially negotiating the sanctions to achieve a favorable outcome on your behalf.
The Appeals Process
Schools have specific policies for appealing an adverse outcome, but many schools have similar procedures. At the University of Delaware, for example, a student may either appeal the sanctions or appeal the ruling. The Office of Student Conduct must receive a written notification requesting to appeal sanctions within a period of five business days or the matter is considered to be closed. Sanctions that may be appealed include academic penalties, suspensions, and expulsion. The filing for appeal must contain the reasoning why the sanctions are believed to be unreasonable and may not exceed three pages in length. A request to appeal a ruling must assert that:
- The allegations made at the hearing were not properly supported
- That new previously unavailable information has been discovered
- That the proper procedures were not adhered to
Having a Legal Advisor in the Appeals Process
The process for an appeal may be challenging. Not only must the student compile a substantive basis for reconsideration of the ruling, but it must be completed quickly. This alone reinforces the importance of promptly retaining seasoned legal counsel. With this assistance, the information within your appeal will be clear, strong and effective.
Experienced Advisor in Delaware for Academic Disciplinary Appeals
Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands student concerns of how records of academic misconduct can negatively impact their future. He is experienced in how to counter allegations and ensure your rights are protected. Those in Delaware seeking aggressive student disciplinary defense are encouraged to call (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.
- Delaware College of Art and Design
- Delaware State University
- Goldey–Beacom College
- University of Delaware
- Wesley College
- Widener University–Delaware Campus
- Wilmington University
Regrettably, an academic misconduct finding of responsibility can derail an accused student's academic and professional goals and some students and parents do not recognize this concern until it may be too late. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct charges, in addition to the short-term consequences such academic and disciplinary sanctions, there will be long-term consequences. Internships, graduate school opportunities, and employment opportunities can all be adversely impacted by a finding of responsibility.
For these reasons and more, it is critical to properly address such concerns as early as possible in the disciplinary process. There are times, however, that it necessary to appeal an adverse outcome, and Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at universities and colleges in Delaware and throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Delaware and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected at all stages of the academic misconduct disciplinary process, including the appeal stage - Contact National Academic Misconduct Advisor Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.